Preparing for Departure – Florida Charter

This is the second post about our charter off of Southwest Florida. As the first semester at my new position came to a close, I grew excited and a bit concerned about our first vacation afloat together. After all, everything I knew about sailing I had read in a book. I had no hands on experience of raising a mainsail, dropping a CRQ anchor, or heaving to. (Non-sailors see Part II of my sailing glossary below)

I imagined sailing would be somewhat like camping – another activity that I have very little experience with. Most of my friends would call me a city girl (despite a 5 year stint in rural Arkansas). I like art museums and gallery openings, eating at new restaurants, going to the theater, dive bars, and occasionally dancing to some 80’s new wave or Goth-Industrial. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have camped. I once spent a fabulous night in the mountains of southern New Hampshire, huddled around an awesome fire pit, chowing down on Smores. A lovely evening ended rather abruptly when a gang of Christian youth, eagerly singing about their love for Jesus, hiked through the Swanzey Lake Campgrounds at the crack of dawn. But I digress…

Camping on a boat would be fun! We would eat good meals, watch the stars from the deck, and snuggle in our berth at night. We would listen to the sounds of water lapping the boat and feel the warm Florida breeze blow through our hatches. We would see wildlife and sunsets, meet other cruisers, and spend quality time away from the rat race. And hopefully I would not get seasick.

As we drove down to North Port, FL where we planned to stop and see Jeff’s parents for a night before we departed, I began to look back on all of the times I had been on a boat. What if I was sick the whole time we had the charter? I had been very sick with vertigo for 3 days after a one-day catamaran trip to Nova Scotia. I had also been seasick after a choppy ride aboard a motorboat on Lake Ontario. I was not seasick in the gondolas in Venice or on s/v Helbent in NJ. I was not seasick on a catamaran to Vinalhaven, ME. I was not seasick on the ferry between Germany and Denmark. And, perhaps most importantly, I never got sick on the Pirate Ship that I rode 12 times in a row when I was 8 at Darien Lake Theme Park. That was it. I was going to be fine. I had to be fine. I had, after all, married a sailor.

As we were on a tight schedule – Jeff had to give his last exam at 11 a.m. on Thursday morning 12/7 – and our charter began at 2 p.m. 12/9 1,262 miles away, Jeff’s parents agreed to pick up our provisions for the trip. Below is the list of food and supplies we requested:

Oat Bread
Udi Wheat Bread
4 cans corn
4 cans black beans
Peanut butter
3 boxes pasta for Jeff
2 bags of GF tortilla chips (most are, but should double check)
Ginger Ale
A couple green apples, oranges, bananas, onions
One box GF veggie burgers (I figure we could split these)
Shredded Mexican cheese
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Aluminum foil
Bug spray
Garlic powder
Parmesan cheese
Nut thins (GF crackers)

Part II – Sailing Glossary

Heaving to: To turn into the wind and set sails to stop or gain control in heavy weather (kind of)

CRQ Anchor: Plough-style anchor with a hinged shank, good for use in a variety of bottoms

Berth: Term for a bed on a boat – often a converted settee, though sometimes in a private cabin

Hatch: An opening in the cabin or deck top allowing access or ventilation below

Catamaran: A sailing vessel with two hulls joined by a deck and bracing

Mainsail: The principal or largest in a suit of sails

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